Autoimmune Protocol

autoimmune protocol

After a lot of research and trials with other so called arthritis diets I ended up trying the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP). This diet is a stricter variation of the Paleo Diet. A number of foods that you’re able to eat on a paleo diet are excluded on the AIP diet. I’ll be explaining what the Paleo diet is in another post but for now I want to concentrate on the autoimmune protocol diet as I’ve found it is the best diet for arthritis diseases.

As I’ve mentioned the AIP diet follows the guidelines of a paleo diet. This allows you to eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, fruit and vegetables. That seems simple enough until you realize that you can’t eat anything that has grains in it which will mean it’s gluten free, no dairy, no legumes, no processed foods, no alcohol and as little amount of sugar as possible.

Now if that wasn’t bad enough the autoimmune protocol diet suggests cutting out eggs and certain vegetables such as peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. And I love all 3 of those so it was a big challenge to remove them from my diet. Here is a full list of foods you should avoid on the automimmune protocol diet but are allowed on the Paleo diet.

Autoimmune Protocol – Foods To Avoid

Do not eat any of the following

  • Eggs (especially the whites)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds (includes spices from seeds such as curry powder, paprika, chilli powder)
  • Vegetables from the nightshade family – potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines
  • Certain berries – goji berries, huckleberries, ground cherries and Cape gooseberries

For someone like me who loves his curry, Mexican food, pizza and fish and chips the autoimmune protocol diet turns into a bit of a nightmare to say the least! When I first started the diet I was struggling to plan meals and work out what I could eat. Everything seems to include gluten and grains. You can’t eat bread, or pasta or rice, you can’t have gravy or anything that includes a sauce, no dairy which means no milk, no cheese and you can’t eat eggs either or cereal. There goes breakfast every day. How could I survive on a diet that didn’t allow potato? I eat potato almost every day.

And this is the biggest challenge for anyone wanting to try the autoimmune protocol. You have to completly alter they way you think about food. The traditional idea of eating a breakfast of cereal, toast and coffee is over. Sandwiches for lunch, not on the autoimmune protocol, sorry. Don’t worry, by the time dinner comes around you’ll be ok, you’ll just starve throughout the day!

dr sarah ballantyneThat what it seems like at first. That is until you start looking up autoimmune protocol recipes. If you do any type of search for the autoimmune protocol you’ll probably see a website called The Paleo Mom pop up a lot. I ended up here eventually and it is a superb resource on the autoimmune protocol and is run by Dr Sarah Ballantyne. I’d suggest reading her very impressive about page to give you an idea about her qualifications and authority in this area of research: suffice to say Dr Ballantyne knows what she’s talking about and I give her full credit for helping me heal my own psoriatic arthritis.

Dr Ballantyne is Canadian and she runs a very good podcast with a lady from the US. You will find a lot of the information is relevant for Americans and Canadians obviously. The majority of recipe books you find on Amazon will be American. That’s ok if you know what a Zuccini is or what a 2lb piece of meat works out to in metric and what a cup of mushrooms in grams? If you don’t then you’ll find a lot of the information and recipes are time consuming to convert to us here in the UK.

In time I shall try and add UK specific recipes on my website.

I’ve spent the last 5 months on the autoimmune protocol diet and my psoriatic arthritis is the best it’s been for 10 years. I do eat breakfast and lunch. I don’t starve during the day. Eating an autoimmune protocol diet is not the end of the world. There’s plenty to eat and when your pain starts to disappear and your psoriasis starts to clear you’ll find that there’s no way you’ll want to go back to the way you used to eat. You’ll be healing yourself from the inside out and you’ll feel amazing. You’ll lose weight and you’ll be full of energy. Painful, swollen joints will be a distant memory and you’ll never get tired of people saying how great your skin looks.

Recommended reading for the autoimmune protocol and the Paleo diet:

The Paleo Mom
The Paleo Diet
Chris Kresser
Marks Daily Apple



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